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Billups leads Pistons over Wizards for sixth straight win

Nov 26, 2006 - 2:48 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups had 29 points and seven assists and Tayshaun Prince scored 21 points as the Detroit Pistons defeated the Washington Wizards, 115-111, for their sixth straight victory.

Richard Hamilton collected 18 points and six rebounds for the Pistons, who shot 46 percent (34-of-74) from the field to defeat the slumping Wizards for the second time in eight days.

"Playing four games in five days, I think the one thing I didn't expect would be for us to be as good offensively as we were," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "But offensively we executed. We got the ball to people and we made plays."

A former NBA Finals MVP, Billups remains the consummate floor leader. On Saturday, the All-Star guard played one of his most efficient games of the season, shooting 4-of-7 from the floor and 18-of-19 from the line.

"Chauncey's pretty strong, so what he can do is pretty much bust through," Saunders said. "Tayshaun's a great passer. As soon as Chauncey was open, Tayshaun was getting it to him right away."

An 88 percent career free-throw shooter, Billups made 9-of-10 foul shots in the final 54 seconds to hold off Washington.

"I expect to do that," Billups said. "I'm a good free-throw shooter and if I get that many, then I expect to make them all, but it didn't happen like that. But I expect to make all of those."

Prince was 8-of-14, including 3-of-4 from the arc.

"You make two or three buckets and guys keep going to you, and that's been the case," Prince said. "I've been getting off to a good start and making a couple baskets and from that point on they've been looking for me."

Leading by four points entering the third quarter, Detroit extended its lead to 90-79 entering the final 12 minutes as Billups and Hamilton scored eight points apiece in the period.

The Pistons' bench also provided a spark, outscoring the Wizards, 32-12, for the game.

"The disappointing thing is I thought we should have been up 10 or 11 at the half the way our bench played," Saunders said. "We put our starters back in there and we didn't sustain that same energy that our bench had given us.

"(Carlos) Delfino played well. Flip (Murray) played well. Lindsey (Hunter), (Antonio) McDyess and Dale Davis has played really well for us. All those guys gave good effort and good energy and gave our main guys the ability to get some rest."

On November 17, the Pistons posted a 100-91 victory over Washington. Detroit used that momentum to win its next five contests and secure a one-half game lead in the Central Division over Cleveland, which was in action Saturday.

Gilbert Arenas collected 28 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who shot 49 percent (42-of-85) and lost their fourth straight contest in a five-day stretch.

"It's a part of the NBA," said Arenas, who scored three points Friday. "It's just about being professional. My legs were gone (Friday) and I found them today. Now we're trying to get out of this funk we are in. It seems like every year we start out this way and when we cannot go any further, we bounce back."

One of the highest scoring trios in the NBA, Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler combined for 75 points.

"Offensively, we did a better job than we have in the past three games, but we didn't play defense as well as we have lately," Jamison said. "We need to be more consistent on both the offensive and defensive end."

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